UBC project to generate clean energy and new knowledge

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UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project is a partnership with Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems Corp. and GE Water & Power.

A first-of-its-kind bioenergy project at the University of British Columbia will generate enough clean electricity to power 1,500 homes, reduce the university’s natural gas consumption by up to12 per cent and eliminate up to 4,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – the equivalent of taking 1,100 cars off the road.

Announced today by Premier Gordon Campbell and UBC President Prof. Stephen Toope, the UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project is a partnership with Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems Corp. and GE Water & Power. It will be the first North American demonstration of a biomass-fueled heat-and-power generation system.

“British Columbia has enormous clean energy potential and together with industry, we are putting it to work for our economy, generating new jobs and new wealth for B.C. communities, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions within and beyond our borders,” said Premier Campbell at the announcement today kicking off Clean Energy Day.

“This project demonstrates UBC’s leadership in sustainability and our concept of the campus as a living laboratory,” said Prof. Toope. “This groundbreaking partnership is helping UBC achieve its sustainability goals through the convergence of research, operations and industry in the bioenergy sphere.”

The $26-million project will install a biomass gasification system at UBC’s Vancouver campus that will operate in co-generation mode for electric power production and thermal mode to produce steam. It will produce two megawatts of cost-effective clean electricity – up to six per cent of the campus’s average electrical demand in co-generation mode using a GE Jenbacher gas engine to produce electric power – and up to 25 per cent of campus’s base requirement for steam in thermal mode. It will also provide research and learning opportunities for faculty and students, yield valuable new knowledge in the clean energy sector and inform new global standards for bioenergy system performance.

The project’s UBC research collaborators include the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, the Clean Energy Research Centre, the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the Faculty of Applied Science and the Sauder School of Business.

Funding support for the project comes from the BC Bioenergy Network, Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy Fund, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, FPInnovations and UBC.

UBC is one of the most sustainable post-secondary campuses in the world, earning top grade in the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card. The UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration project will further advance UBC’s excellence in academic and operational sustainability by generating new knowledge for the sustainable energy sector.

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